You’re Not Alone

National flags held up during the Parade of Nations

I just got back from a Dr. King service at the Strathmore Center in Rockville, Maryland. I’m not even going to lie, I was not excited about this at all. A lot of the Dr. King services I have attended in the past have been full of a lot of inflated language without any real substance.

Today changed me. It was the kick-start I needed ushering in 2012.

The Strathmore had persons from different backgrounds, cultures, ages and talents.

That’s the beauty of the county (and country, but mostly county) I live in. Probably the best example of what Dr. King dreamed of when he fought for the freedom of all people because he knew that if any of us were in shackles, none of us could live free.

At the Strathmore, there were 4th graders who won literary contests, singers of young and old (who are all good enough to sign with a record company one day), musicians from China, actors who impersonated Dr. King, military persons, young men who sacrificed their youth to feed the poor and set an example even if they didn’t have meals waiting for them at home and stable families, and former African refugees turned humanitarians.

Every act and person was inspirational. One 4th grader told the crowd: We don’t have to like each other, but we have to learn to love and respect one another or we’ll relive the horrors of the past.

From the gospel songs urging us to keep hope alive even when we can’t take another step to the children pleading for us to change the world through love, my faith was reignited in the American Dream. This kind of thing is exclusive to America and this is why we can’t lose this country to domestic and foreign enemies trying to weaken this country for their individual gain.

It’s been a difficult time trying to get myself situated into the real world. Since graduating from college last June, I’ve struggled to stay motivated. I’m a Type A personality. I have ADHD, OCD or something. I know I have one of those things because I hate being stagnant. I’m a bit of an overachiever and I can now see the fault in my ways.

It’s desirable by many in society to be an overachiever, but to me, 2012 is about finding the self. That’s where I hope to find the truth.

Slowing down has forced me to appreciate the people in my life, my blessings and it’s forced me to see what I’m made of. Whether the times are good or bad, they never last forever. It’s hard to find the motivation to keep going sometimes, but without struggles along the way, how would we know what our lives were worth?

I want to take this time out to thank my ancestors who were stripped of their dignity through slavery, my parents who grew up in Birmingham during the Civil Rights movement, Dr. King, Emmett Till, Medger Evers, the members of the SCLC, the people who marched in Selma, Memphis and D.C., the people of Occupy all over the world and anyone else past or present who is intent on fighting against oppression.

Knowing you’re not the only one is such a relief.

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